Sensuality is not a word often associated with interiors, but it’s one Andre Mellone uses to describe his work.
‘I’ve been told there’s something sexy about it and I’m very proud of that,’ the Brazilian-born, New York-based interior designer says.
True to his signature style, the stunning interiors he has created for a newly developed apartment in a late-19th-century building in Brooklyn are seductive, cosy and well-proportioned.
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Andre's clients, a husband and wife with several other properties in the US, were eager to be close to their family.
'The apartment is only three quarters of a mile from where our grandchildren live. We wanted our New York home to be somewhere where we could entertain formally, but that would also suit all the generations of our family,’ the wife of the couple explains.
'With such tall, large spaces we didn’t want the property to feel too cavernous. We were drawn to Andre because he has a special sense of spatial awareness. He also does these wonderful sketches that enabled us to visualise his ideas,’ she adds.
The kitchen is fully equipped for entertaining. To conceal the heat and toil of cooking, Andre designed sliding windows of steel and fluted glass allowing it to be separate and private.
The same window dressings have been used for the living spaces, bringing a sense of cohesion.
Having studied initially as an architect, Andre’s understanding of how to lay out rooms was a gift on this project.
‘The main living room is very large and square with eleven foot ceilings. It’s often easier to place furniture in a rectangular room where the sofa might go against the long wall, for example. Here, we found a modular sofa that functions as the central pinwheel for the rest of the seating areas.’
A sourcing mission that saw Andre search as far as London, Brazil and Senegal has led to an exceptional collection of rare mid-century furnishings. The arrangement in this central room gives the pieces both poise and languor, striking an alluring setting for those wishing to linger for drinks after supper.
A painting by Ryan Mosley provides a striking backdrop and works with the rich hues in this large section of seating.
Inspired by Helena Rubinstein’s Paris apartment of the 1930s, the built-in solid mahogany shelves display an extensive collection of African sculptures reflective of her Zimbabwean heritage.
Mahogany-panelled walls define mid-century style. The high pile of the rug adds a sense of luxurious comfort.
‘I wasn’t sure about the mahogany panelling,’ his client reveals, ‘but he really pushed on that and, of course, he was absolutely right. The result is an incredible room,’ she says.
The artwork prompted the yellow, pink and pale blue scheme. Cashmere and velvet mohair strike a mood of relaxation.
‘If it was up to me I’d make everything black, brown and blue, but for the bedroom the owner requested a colour palette of pale blue, pink and yellow, which I found challenging,’ says Andre.
Like the perfect seductress, this apartment has a sense of self-assuredness and low-key glamour that’s hard to mimic, and undoubtedly those ingredients are what go into giving Andre’s work that little touch of je ne sais quoi.
For Andre, meeting the client led to an easy collaboration that has prompted two further projects between client and designer.
‘She is a collector so the art programme was entirely hers and she already knew where she wanted to hang each piece. I welcomed that – the fact that I didn’t have creative control over everything meant the mix of what I did and she did made for the best dynamic,’ says Andre.
The son of a prominent Brazilian industrial designer, Andre cites his father’s work and mid-century design as big influences on his interiors. ‘The period I’m most attracted to is between the 1930s and 1970s, from the art deco period to Bauhaus.’
Interior designer/ Studio Mellone
Photography/ Stephen Kent Johnson/Otto
Text/ Juliet Benning
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Interiors have always been Vivienne's passion – from bold and bright to Scandi white. After studying at Leeds University, she worked at the Financial Times, before moving to Radio Times. She did an interior design course and then worked for Homes & Gardens, Country Living and House Beautiful. Vivienne’s always enjoyed reader homes and loves to spot a house she knows is perfect for a magazine (she has even knocked on the doors of houses with curb appeal!), so she became a houses editor, commissioning reader homes, writing features and styling and art directing photo shoots. She worked on Country Homes & Interiors for 15 years, before returning to Homes & Gardens as houses editor four years ago.
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